Joseph Zito’s 1984 treatment of “Friday the 13th” really should have been the final film in the series. While I do love the “Friday the 13th” movie series dearly, there’s a considerable drop off in quality after “The Final Chapter” as you can sense the writers trying to bring Jason back with as little absurdity as possible. “The Final Chapter” is one of the last really excellent horror romps that focus on character dynamic and family, and surely enough it’s still a very strong horror film where Jason Voorhees is an unstoppable killing machine.
After Jason is hanged in part 3, he’s taken to the morgue at the local hospital and breaks out, taking down two hospital staff members quite brutally. He makes his way back to Crystal Lake, simultaneously arriving with a slew of vacationing teenager, and a small family named the Jarvis’s, also getting away for the summer. The introduction of Tommy Jarvis is a masterstroke as Jason is finally given his own foil, much in the way Michael Myers had Laurie Strode. Corey Feldman gives a stand out performance as young Tommy Jarvis, a horror enthusiast who is completely oblivious to the terrifying killing spree Voorhees is inflicting around him.
Director Zito definitely creates a slick and often tense slasher film that revels in delivering gruesome deaths to the oddly likable cast of characters. There are even some really memorable moments including Crispin Glover’s odd dance sequence, and Jason trying to chase Tommy and his sister Trish on a stairwell. Jarvis’ transformation from enthusiastic little boy to pure psychotic prepared to murder Jason is quite startling and provides one of the best finales in any of the “Friday the 13th” films in the series. There are also some classic kills from Jason including the knife through the skull, the vicious scalpel impaling, and the face smashing in to the shower wall. Zito even goes all the way and features Jason throwing a dog through a window. “The Final Chapter” is a brutal but entertaining installment for the man behind the mask and my second favorite in the “Friday the 13th” series.